Walpurgis Eve in Sweden
April 30, 2011 12:42 PM

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Today is Walpurgis Eve in Sweden, known in Swedish as Valborgsmässoafton. On this day we have big bonfires all across the country. Before the fire is lit somebody usually make a speak and after that a choir sings in spring. Then we burn up the past years junk, which is what the bonfire consist of, and say hello to spring time. :-)

Unfortunately this year all bonfires in the Karlskrona area (which includes Lyckeby) are cancelled. And this is because the ground is so dry right now. Actually, I can't even remember the last time it rained... But I'm not complaining. I love this amazing weather, even though it means no bonfire on Walpurgis Eve for me this year.

So this is the view from my balcony of last years bonfire in Ekebacken, Lyckeby.

And this is this years bonfire collection in Ekebacken (pic from this morning). Which will remain unlit a while longer.

Originally this was a German tradition. Germans believed that witches had witches' sabbath on Walpurgis Night and therefore they used to lit bonfires to keep witches away. But fires were also lit to chase away predators and supernatural beings before animals were placed on pasture for the first time. People around the fires enhanced their intentions by beating on drums, rattling pot lids, screaming and shouting. It was during the 1800s the custom to celebrate Walpurgis night started to spread through Sweden.

And the name Valborgsmässoafton - Walpurgis Eve originates from Saint Valborg (Walpurgis), who has name day on May 1st. She was an Anglo-Saxon prince's daughter who did missionary work in Germany in the 700's, where she eventually became an abbess.

Source: nordiskamuseet.se

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